The Horse

JAN 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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Page 45 of 51

FARM & BARN DAVID PRESTON 46 January 2019 The Horse | A barn is a luxury we construct to house, feed, and help meet our horses' basic needs and our desires. It can be as modest as a pole barn with temporary stalls, or as extravagant as a horse chateau with climate control and automatic everything. If economics were not a factor, what indulgences would you choose to enhance your horse's stabling experience and add a level of safety and convenience? Here are some amenities real owners have put on their barn wish lists, plus my input as a horse owner with more than 30 years in the commercial and equine construction industries. Horse Health and Safety Enhancements Plenty of ventilation and natural light. If your barn is not well-ventilated, this should be at the top of your list for renovations. Poor ventilation can lead to respiratory issues such as equine asthma (formerly known as heaves). You can improve it by including windows, ridge vents, roof vents, soffit vents, and fans in your barn design. As a general rule, your facility should have constant natural air movement without it blowing directly on the horses. There should be intake open- ings low and high for exhausting damp air. Depending on your barn's construc- tion, the cost of installing these will vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. You can gain natural light either through windows or skylights or both. Retrofitting these items can be costly, again depending on the type of wall or roof construction involved. Basic trans- lucent roof panels are the least expensive option at approximately $50 each plus labor. More substantial skylights can cost thousands each, with the most expensive types featuring motorized open-and-close capabilities to help with ventilation. Place windows for ventilation high enough in the wall to prevent horses from damaging them, or install protec- tive bars or mesh (which can make cleaning difficult). Even with protection, barn windows for natural light should be constructed with tempered glass. Like skylights, the cost of windows varies, but the labor to install is the more significant item. Wireless cameras to monitor horses and security. The cost of wireless devices has plummeted in the last few years. The biggest hurdle might be the distance from the barn to the house where you monitor the camera. Wi-Fi installed in the barn can mitigate this, or you can buy long-distance transmitters for some systems. Surveillance systems marketed specifically for barns tend to have more rugged cameras designed for outdoor use and run $500 to $2,000, depending on the number of cameras and the size of the transmitter. Stall dividers that allow horses to see each other. Open-style stall dividers allow horses to socialize and enjoy more air flow. "For individually stalled horses, open-style dividers provide continu- ous opportunity to communicate with neighbors through sight, sound, and smell," says Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, research professor at the University of Puget Sound and affiliate professor at the University of Washington. "Even when SALLY NEWCOMB What's on Your Barn Wish List? Safety, health, and convenience features today's horse owners value, and what they cost Features as seemingly simple as a paved or nonslip barn aisle and plenty of ventilation and natural light might top your list.

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